By Len Bose
The warning signal for the 2010 boating season is about to be raised. With the daylight savings time change just three weeks away, the shipyards are in full swing with the yachts preparing for the upcoming season. The Rhine Wharf Guest Dock is under construction, the racing starts this weekend, fishermen are still chasing the giant squid and the local yacht clubs' cruising schedules have been posted. Its time to go yachting!
While cruising the shipyards today, the Balboa Boat Yard and South Cost Shipyard seemed a little slow, while in the Newport Shipyard the bay's comical fleet was filling the yard. Over at Basin Shipyard, the yard was packed, and I could barely walk through it. Normally within the next couple of weeks, the yards start filling up with the yachting season approaching fast. If you have not scheduled your haul-out yet, you better get on it, because if you don't do it now you might be waiting until July before there is an opening.
The racing season really starts this weekend with the 81st Annual 2010 Midwinter Regatta. Most of the racing in Newport this weekend will be limited to Sabots and Harbor 20’s. This is only a wake-up call, because once March starts its “Sheet in and Max Out.” One of my favorite events is the WD Schock Memorial Regatta coming March 6-7, that brings in a big fleet of Lido 14’s and Harbor 20’s. Last year, we had 24 Lido 14’s and 28 Harbor 20’s, and this is always a good way to start out this bay's March madness.
The following weekend, Newport Harbor Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club have put their heads together to come up with one of the better ideas for a yacht race that I've seen in years – The Islands Race. It starts March 12 in Long Beach, heads around Catalina and San Clemente Islands to port and finishes in San Diego. In its inaugural run, this race has attracted 47 of the West Coast's best ocean racers with four Santa Cruz 70, four Trans Pac 52, and Dennis Conner and his Farr 60 “Stars & Stripes.” Other boats to watch will be Magnitude 80 and three new boats to the race course this year: “Yippee Kai Yay” the new Antrim Open 40, “Rapid Transit” an Antrim Open 49 and the Kernan 44 “Wasabi.” And of course everyone's favorite – “Ragtime." Most of the people entered in this race will be returning to Newport the next weekend for the CdM to Cabo Yacht race on March 26-27. Because I will be racing in this year's Cabo race, I will miss the “Harry Wood” Lido 14 regatta that the Balboa Yacht Club is running on the March 28. Last year, this event had 15 A Fleet boats and five B fleet boats attending. This is always a well-run event with some of the best racing the bay has to offer. Also with the time change, the second Sunday of the month, means the Lido 14’s will be returning to M mark on Wednesday nights starting on March 17 at 5:30 p.m.and going through August.
While making my way around the harbor today, one can't miss the work going on in the Rhine Channel. Between The Cannery restarant and Blue Water Grille, the city has started construction on the 100-foot guest dock, and it appears the work will be done before summer starts. The bay is in desperate need for more guest docks, so this will be a big relief when the project is completed.
From what I hear at the Island Marine Fuel dock (the only mini-market on the bay), everyone is still chasing the giant squid. With a quick look at Newport Landing's website www.newportlanding.com/fishcount.htm, the fishing boats are leaving at 5:30 nightly. It seems that everyone I showed a boat to these last two weeks is going giant squid fishing.
While sitting in on the Balboa Yacht Club's fleet meeting, our cruising chairmen reviewed this year's schedule. One of my favorite events we have each year is our club's raft up in the turning basin. This year, the raft up is scheduled on March 27-28, and Newport Harbor's raft up will be on May 22-24. I can’t think of a better way or better value than attending a raft up in Newport Bay.
So get ready to start your watches. This season's preparatory signals are about to be raised!
Len Bose is a contributing writer to the Daily Voice and owner of Len Bose Yacht Sales.